The Blessing of Being a Beginner

posted by Nancy Nelson

I’m a self-admitted perfectionist. I like to know what I am doing, why I am doing it, and for exactly how long I will be doing it for. Yes, I recognize that this is rarely how things work in real life. Therefore, I often find myself spiraling when one unknown hits. It totally throws me off track. I lose sight of what I’m doing, which makes me lose purpose and then I don’t know how to proceed forward. Yep, it’s problematic for sure.

Over the past couple of years, it’s been a personal goal to give myself a little grace and a little less need for every detail to be worked out ahead of time. Instead of avoiding the truth that nothing in life is certain, I’ve tried my best to embrace it. Last year, my mantra was to “loosen my grip” on the things I cannot control. This mantra took me to places of personal introspection I never could have dreamed. I started to recognize that control is an illusion. In our society we like to have it all together because it’s dog-eat-dog out there. Every man for himself! Do or die! Make the most money! Just DO it! Win all the (gold) medals!

So you could say that I was surprised that as my grip loosened, my freedom grew. Not because I had every detail ironed out knowing what to anticipate and how to plan, but rather because I decided that faith was better than fear. Without my grip on controlling everything, I found joy in the midst of shaking, gratitude despite my failures and hope even with the looming unknowns and surprise circumstances. It was shocking.

Not only did I see this phenomenon come to life off the mat, I began to recognize it in myself and my students in the studio. As I held poses that seem so “basic” – I found myself struggling to breathe, to hold, to rest. The temptation was there to be frustrated about this, but as I surrendered to what came on the mat – I began to see my practice in a whole new light. The shaking meant something was changing, the falling meant I was learning compassion, and the moments I fought surrendering into a pose, showed me that I often fight surrender in my life off the mat. Resting is not my love language.

Seeing this take place, I began to understand what a deep and wonderful gift it is to be a beginner to anything, but specifically to the yoga practice. Being a beginner means you can explore shapes that your body has never conceived, breathe deeper than you ever thought possible, and find mental release that only seems to happen in fictional tales set in other worlds.

As I look ahead to leading the Yoga Basics series later this month, I’m excited. Not only to meet new yogis to the Inspire Yoga community – but also to meet those who have taken the leap into beginner-hood. Yes, you’re going to be unsure about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it (to some degree), the details won’t be ironed out before your first class on exactly what will take place, and you are bound to fall at some point or another. The blessing amidst all of this is the fact that you have the opportunity to release the illusion of control and dive into the unknown trusting that all will pan out how it is supposed to. If you’re going to run into the unknown no matter what, what if you simply decided to react in LOVE rather than FEAR? What if you fall and decide that you can extend grace to yourself? What if you shake and you choose to see it as growth rather than weakness? What if the crazy pretzel yoga poses don’t instill doubt, but give you the perspective to see what is to come in continuing to show up to your mat?

Freedom is the gift. Seek it by showing up with an open mind and a loving heart.

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Wife, daughter, sister, and friend. Not to mention world adventurer, dreamer, yogi, and diy obsessed. In the past few years I have gotten married and become a full-timer in the yoga world. A big turning point in my life was a few years ago when I lost a very dear friend of mine. He was 24 years old at the time. I learned a lot during that season, but one thing that I took away for sure is that life is precious, moments are precious, and even the seemingly ordinary moments are beautiful and brilliant. So I'm here to share as it seems fit. Connect with me. I'd love to hear from you!

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